Gardens Eye Journal-August 2014


“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” 
–  William Shakespeare 



It is just about midsummer…well actually it is midsummer here as our weather is unpredictable once September comes along.  We could have cold days in August and horrific heat in September.  All I know is it is a crap shoot for my flower and veg gardens.  But I try to remain optimistic that summer heat will continue for the next 6-8 weeks.

My garden continues to be weeks behind, and with the fluctuating hot and cool days, it is still maintaining longer blooms.  Of course the rain helps.  Many of my later veggies are setting fruit or not ripening yet.  So we need the heat.  Of course I have not been out in the rest of the garden to weed, prune and get to maintenance.  Most of my time in between the rain has been spent in the veg garden which I will write about in another week. 

So as I look at my July garden, I am joining Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View.  Be forewarned, these journal posts are always long. 






july weather

July was a strange month weather wise.  First half dry, and then suddenly we started getting weekly strong storms followed by days of cool weather…then warming to storms, then cool weather then….well you get the picture.  If the skies weren’t dark gray, they were bright blue.  Only one morning did we have this wonderful orange sky.  The rest were pale in color.  We also had 5 inches of rain.




Garden Views

I am following my front gardens and joining in with Xericstyle who hosts The Wide Shot meme the first of every month.  Of course these are not very wide shots this month.

DSCN1359You can see lots blooming in the front garden.  I am showing some clipped shots as it is pretty unruly with the trees overhanging the gardens.  You can see the dahlia leaning to get light.  And the antique planter is finally filling in after 6 weeks.  It has a twin behind the tree.






Here’s another view as I turned a bit.  In the back is Phlox maculata ‘Flower Power’ which flowers beautifully.  





DSCN1360This is how high the trees got, but even the volunteer Joe Pye is gaining on the tree.  This Joe Pye will be moved to the side garden which needs some improvements.  The wind chimes were a present from a dear friend for my birthday.  I absolutely love these, and had to proudly display them from the front porch.





This is the end of the sidewalk garden down near the driveway where the voles made a mess.  You can see  a low growing echinacea mixed with others that seeded themselves here.  A groundcover rose is barely flowering 8 inches off the ground because it died all the way back.  Lavender blooming still in July.  I need to get at this area to weed, amend and mulch.  And yes that is clover growing in the front lawn with violets.





The mailbox garden gave me a big surprise with these volunteer sunflowers.  I had a few planted toward the back of this garden last year.  I left the seedheads up and apparently the seeds dropped and were washed to the front of this garden as it is slightly angled.  The seeds were stopped at the lip of the gully that this garden butts up against.  

And before I knew it these sunflowers sprang up in front of the mailbox.  So I tied them together and may need to pull them away a bit by staking them.  I will probably cut some of the flowers once they bloom and put them in a vase.  The mail carrier is being patient and has not complained so far.





This was the same garden a couple of weeks earlier in July when the clematis engulfed the mailbox.  I love this look.  See those sneaky sunflower volunteers…





This is the red (sometimes orangey) garden being swallowed by a stand of monarda.  I didn’t get a chance to thin them and the critters were grateful I left them alone.  I have to expand this bed and move the coreopsis and daylilies so you can see them.  This garden is to the right of the house and the gate leads to the pond area.






This is the other side of the fence and the red garden.  You can see that monarda is blooming here too covering up so many plants but it looks great with the echinacea and a young elderberry plant.  I can see this stand from my family room window and can watch all the visitors who love the monarda.  Now if we just back up a bit to the patio here is what that garden looks like….





 Susans are blooming with stokesia.  And if we walk forward down this grass path, we go around the pond on the left and veg gardens on the right and come to the other side of the pond garden….





This is what the other side of the pond looks like.  You can still see the monarda by the fence in the background.  The pond is at the top of the bed nestled in and hidden.  Many visitors don’t know there is a pond unless we tell them.


So let’s get to some close-ups of what is blooming around the garden.




What’s Growing



Growing in the front garden, in addition to the lily at the top of the post, is a dwarf balloon flower.





DSCN9668 Off of the porch growing along the rain chain, is clematis ‘Avant Garde’ which always blooms later than most other clematis.





Shasta daisies were blooming in the back gardens in July and many still are.  This is a wonderful cultivar whose name I lost several years ago.




DSCN1563Every year I think the crocosmia won’t come back and yet it does much to the delight of the gardener and the hummers, who I spied hanging in this cluster of blooms for a long while.  I think I will divide it and move some to other areas of the back gardens. 





I have so many different daylilies and this was one of the stand outs in July.  I adore the color every summer.





These tiger lilies bloom off the patio next to the sea oats.  




j iris july

And some of my proudest blooms in July are the Japanese irises.  Here are three of the beauties that bloom in some of my wetter areas.  They are troopers growing among the weeds and wildflowers.






DSCN1344Natives agastache loves my front gardens and has seeded itself around nicely.  I hope to move some of it to other sunny areas in the front and on the side of the house.





This is coreopsis ‘Red Shift’ technically a cultivar not a true native flower.  One of the few that came back this year.






This is ‘Mango Tango’ a cultivar of the native Shrubby cinquefoil or Dasiphora fruticosa also known as Potentilla fruticosa.  It is more yellow this year and definitely flowering more profusely.






DSCN1520The meadow is blooming with heliopsis, rudbeckia, fleabane and echinacea.  Goldenrod are just beginning to bloom. 







The pond hasn’t changed much except the yellow water lilies are starting to bloom among the cattails. 






 july critters

The critter joy has just exploded this month.  I think I may do some separate critter posts in the upcoming months.  Our young fox continues to come around and hunt even in the yard much to the dismay of our resident young bunnies who were born in the garden.  He is an excellent hunter (we only have one bunny left) so of course we named him Hunter.  We have had 5 different butterflies in the garden including a few monarchs, black swallowtail and tiger swallowtail.  Also spotted a few times were red admirals and fritillary.  I am joining Cathy@Words and Herbs who likes to keep track of her butterflies every month in her butterfly diary post.

The deer pictured here is ‘Alice the Willful’ doe who likes to sneak into the garden and eat my veg garden…so we had to net it all.  Lots of baby birds including this newly fledged song sparrow who took refuge in the clethra bush near the house.  You can also see a hummingbird moth and the one of the many hummers who also love that monarda.  Of course the great joy was seeing the twin fawns.  They are out quite often running around and sneaking up closer to the houses.  They have been in the back meadow chowing down too.





In A Vase On Monday

I am joining Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her meme, In a Vase on Monday today instead of my usual poetry.  Instead I will be posting poetry soon at my new blog.  You can find out more about my new blog below.  I am also linking in with Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles.  


I had a hard time with this vase as I wanted to include some flowers that just weren’t going together in the square vase I choose.  So here it is.


At first I was just OK with it, but it has grown on me.  I used some weeds such as purple loosestrife (the tall purple flowers) and Queen Anne’s Lace (QAL).  Loosestrife is an invasive plant here that takes over wetlands.  But it is a gorgeous flower so when I found it growing along the fence, I thought it would look nice in the vase since I was going to pull it and throw it away.  





I like to let a little QAL grow here and there as it is pretty too.  You can also see lilies, dahlia, some dried yarrow and peony seedheads.  





Close up of the dried yarrow and dried seedhead of QAL.  The foliage used as filler is peony leaves and the lovely chartreuse leaves of a fading Amsonia.



How easy to be carried away at this time of year.  It is the crescendo of summer when almost the whole garden moves too fast.  ~Mirabel Osler




Visit my new blog: 

new blog logo

I wanted to thank all the wonderful people who visited me last Thursday and this past Sunday as I continued to post at my new blog, Living From Happiness.  It is a blog to celebrate life, lessons, change, challenges and creativity.

I do hope you will join me there.  

There will be a new post again this Thursday.




Next up on the blog:  Wednesday I will have another Tree Following post.  And next Monday brings another Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.

I am linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday.

I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.


All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.


40 Replies to “Gardens Eye Journal-August 2014”

  1. so much to see, so much to say but rather than be overly verbose, sum it up in the words: intensely beautiful. Love the wilful volunteers, the clematis, whilst the lilac Japanese iris intrigues the eye!

    1. Laura so glad you enjoyed everything and stuck with it too as it was so long. I am embracing the wilful volunteers more and I too love the exotic look of the J irises…so different I am addicted to them.

  2. My favourite flowers of all those you showed has to be the Japanese Iris, truly beautiful. A pretty vase too, well worth the struggle! Christina

    1. I agree Christina. I need to uncover and rescue the J iris a bit so they can expand their loveliness…they do deserve their own post someday. The vase experience taught me a lot and I definitely love it.

  3. Fantastic post with so many beautiful flowers Donna, thank you so much! You inspire me to do better towards planting in my own garden. Happy day to you 🙂

  4. You gardens are stunning! I remember the vole pictures, and I know you lost a lot. But honestly I cannot tell they were there!

    Unusual weather in lower NY too. I have seen one spicebush swallowtail, and that was this morning.

    Thanks for inspiring me to get out and get dirty!

  5. Your vase is lovely Donna, packed with all those goodies. I love all that tall Monarda you have. It looks pretty wherever it grows, but with a white fence as background it stands out very well. Thanks for the mention. As with the vases, I have become quite addicted to taking photos of butterflies. If only I had more time!

    1. Cathy I wish I had more butterflies as I would be snapping them all the time. Glad you liked the vase and that stand of monarda…I have a whole other garden that is full of the monarda too. It does like to take over but I love it.

  6. Hi Donna! As I was viewing your garden pics, i kept thinking that butterflies and other forms of wildlife must love it. Then I came to your charming collage of critters! It must be wonderful for you to experience nature in the lovely habitat you have created.

    1. The critters are my solace Deb as we are so fortunate to gaze into their lives just a bit…so glad you enjoyed the post!

  7. What lovely shots of your garden.
    We do have lots of tomatoes on the vine, but they are very slow to ripen.

    1. So glad to have you visit Pat. All the rain is now taking a toll on the tomato foliage and we may have a small harvest this year, but any harvest is well worth it. Hope your tomatoes ripen soon.

  8. Hi Donna, popped over to see your vase and delighted to see so many photos and such a lovely post – love the collage of the critters. And the vase, it’s beautiful. I love the delicacy of Queen Anne’s Lace and your loosestrife is pretty purple, here it is more likely to be yellow and it’s a spreader too. Thanks for sharing.

    1. How nice Elizabeth to have you visit. The vase was a challenge but I was determined to use the Queen Anne’s Lace and the loosestrife so I am happy so many like them in the vase.

  9. Your gardens are doing great! I love the clematis on the mailbox. I had one on mine, too, but it got overrun with other perennials. I also love your clematis over your rain chain. The pink one! That is just gorgeous.
    And what a creative way to get rid of your purple loosestrife! Use it in a vase. Also, I never would have thought to use the seed heads of the peonies. They add a nice touch to your vase!

    1. The vase meme has been so creative letting me think differently about what can be used…glad you liked the vase Sue. And my clematis are wonderful in how they grow….I look forward to them blooming every year.

  10. How lovely to see your summer garden, loved the monarda bed with the echinaceas and also the Japanese irises. And your vase is just gorgeous 🙂

  11. Beautiful Donna! You are blessed with all those critters but of course, that is why you garden for wildlife! I just realized my crocosmia didn’t come back ): but I don’t think it is truly hardy here. I will plant some cardinal flower soon to make up for it! Love all your butterflies. I don’t seem to have many. Just that one Giant Swallowtail and yesterday a Red Admiral but the Joe Pye is starting to bloom and that always gets attention!

  12. I love seeing all the colorful flowers in your garden! I have few flowers that care to bloom during our hot dry summers so it’s nice seeing such a bountiful garden. You have filled your vase with summer! Lovely!

  13. What a pleasure to read about your garden in July too – there are so many blogs to read and I am so sorry I can’t read everything I would like to. Your new blog sounds just up my street too. I was particularly impressed with your monarda – such a great clump. Your vase is an intriguing mix – and I love the inclusion of wild flowers and seedheads. It is so good to be sharing all these ideas – I feel my eyes are open to completely different possibilities now. Thanks for joining in.

  14. Wow, there’s a lot going on in your garden! You’ve done a good job catching the critters in action in your garden. (Many of mine visit under the cover of night so all I see is the damage they leave behind.) I was really taken by the Echinacea you show in a few of your photos – I hope my own will develop into clumps that large someday. I like the dried materials you included in your bouquet this week too.

  15. Nice combination of flowers in your vase Donna. Sometimes finding the right vase makes all the difference. An elderly relative used to give me tiger lilies but never could keep them growing. Delightful to see how your garden has come to life.

    1. Carole the rain chain was also a present from the same friend who gave me the new wind chime….I was so happy when I was able to coax the clematis to grow up it every year. Glad you liked it too!

  16. Your postings can’t be long enough, Donna, and this one is beautiful. I love the collages, especially the wildlife one. It’s a pity about loosestrife being invasive — it’s illegal in PA. I grow goose-necked loosestrife which is aggressive and on the invasive watch-list, but still legal for the time being. Are your tiger lilies Lilium superbum ‘Turk’s-cap lily’? They are stunning and I’m glad I have them too. Yes, the summer is going too fast. P. x

    1. Oh Pam how nice of you to say so. It is a pity that loosestrife is invasive. Yes the tiger lillies I believe are Turk’s Cap…I plan to savor as much time with the garden as I can now. Have a wonderful August in your garden too!

  17. Hi Donna, glad your successfully wrestled that vase into touch, isn’t it funny how some are a struggle and others some together really easily. I love loosestrife, but dare not plant it here in my loose rich soil, it spread like crazy in my heavy clay, but the flowers are so lovely. Your monardas are magnificent, I gave up on them thanks to powdery mildew, but am thinking about trying them here, the bees adore them and they come in such fabulous colours.

    1. Janet I keep the monarda thinned and there are a few cultivars that say they are mildew resistant. I also cut it back once it is done blooming and that helps. Too bad about loosestrife. I wish it wasn’t so destructive here.

  18. OMG – the fox is so stunning. It’s sad for the bunnies of course, but that is the balance of nature.

    I’ve only seen a fox once or twice in our neck of the woods. We did have a coyote hanging around last summer, but he/she has not been recently in these parts.

    In your experience, can crocosmia handle clay soil and drought? (The two main banes in my garden.)

    1. We feel the same way about the balance of nature as we have witnessed the fox hunting successfully. Not many coyote sightings here either Aaron. Crocosmia can handle the clay and I would suspect the drought if it has enough winter spring rain. We don’t have too many drought years here. Worth a try.

  19. hello Donna, I know I’m reading this late and backwards as I’ve already read September, today I’m starting to catch up on the many blog posts waiting in my inbox, I’m glad I saved this as I’ve enjoyed seeing more of your garden, I love the monarda stand, the thing about not having thinned them is there is less room for weeds, I am starting to realise it’s better to pack plants close as this cuts down on weeds and less bare soil to dry out,
    the fawns are beautiful but not in your veg patch, not glamorous but my brother put up a very high fence in an area of his garden with a door for veg and cut flower growing, it was the only way as they have a lot of deer in their and neighbouring woodland, glad you have some help now with rabbit control 😉
    so many other lovely things in your garden I can only say it’s all beautiful, I do though know what you mean re the weed growth and not being able to mulch I feel the same, oh and your iris are so beautiful, I’ve been considering them for some years and if I stay here I must get some next year, Frances

    1. Frances they are incredibly beautiful irises… and I agree about packing in flowers. But I have to move a few flowers from the area as the monarda will overtake them and the other flowers will eventually die…I am glad you are able to catch up now. I have thought about a high fence around the veg garden…we may have to in the future.

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